Tag Archives: Drug Abuse

The Addicted Brain: The Dopamine Effect

The Addicted Brain-Dopamine EffectSubstance Abuse’s Effect On Dopamine

Every drug that leads to dependence has been shown to affect the brain’s dopamine system. With some drugs, such as stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine, there is a direct effect on dopamine production while others appear to affect it indirectly.

In the case of alcohol, it does not increase dopamine levels directly. However, there is an indirect link. In fact, everything that provides pleasure has the ability to perpetuate a release of dopamine in the reward pathway of the brain along with triggering an endorphin release.

Research has shown that dopamine produces feelings of “wanting” and “reward,” but this is not the same thing as “liking” or “valuation.” In other words, the dopamine produced from something pleasurable can make you crave more of it and will reinforce habitual use of it whether this is drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex, or other pleasurable activity.

The Link Between Addiction And Mental Illness

While anyone can gain the dopamine effect of drugs or alcohol, it is much more complex when it comes to someone who is also struggling with a mental illness like anxiety or depression. For these individuals, addictive substances are used to not only gain the benefits of increased dopamine, they are also used to medicate the often painful symptoms of mental illness. This makes both diagnosis and treatment more challenging. This is why it’s so important to choose an addiction treatment provider that has experience and expertise in treating co-occurring disorders.

Learn More About Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment In The San Jose Area

Understanding The Numbers Of Addiction

No one begins taking drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted. Yet, a substantial percentage get caught into the trap of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. A few statistics to consider:

  • Nearly one in 10 Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • It’s estimated that over 95% of individuals who need treatment for alcohol addiction do not really believe they need treatment.
  • The top five most addicting drugs are heroin, cocaine, meth, opioid prescription pain relievers and alcohol.

Do You Have A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction?

Are you concerned that you or a loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol? The answer can sometimes seem unclear. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Do you or your loved one use more of the substance or engage in the behavior more often than in the past?
  • Do you or your loved one experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance?
  • Have you or your loved one ever lied to anyone about your use of the substance?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, addiction is a very real possibility.

It’s Not Easy Admitting That You Need HelpReaching Out-Help For Addiction

Although much more is known now about addiction than in decades past, there is still a stigma and shame associated with it. It can be difficult to admit that you have a problem and that you need help. However, the first step in getting help is reaching out to get it. Call a staff member at Summit Estate today. We will treat you with the respect and care that you need.

We will be with you every step of the way. Call now.

Like What You’ve Read? Check Out More In: The Neurological Science Behind Substance Abuse Addiction

Is Silicon Valley Addicted To “Smart” Drugs?

In the high-flying, fast-paced world of Silicon Valley, techies are pushing the limits each and every day to produce the latest innovation or obtain that next round of funding. With stakes so high, an increasing number of individuals in the technology sector are turning to smart drugs to gain a competitive edge and to maximize their abilities.

Silicon Valley And Their Obsession With Smart Drugs

Nootropics, also referred to as cognitive enhancers or smart drugs, are becoming increasingly popular in Silicon Valley circles where there is extreme competition and laser focus on achievement. Many involved in technology are fresh out of college where they used drugs, like Adderall and Ritalin, to help them study and excel on tests. Once transitioning to careers, drug use often continues and becomes even more serious due to relentless work demands.

Even some high-level executives and business owners within Silicon Valley are experimenting with smart drugs to keep their competitive edge. A few notable individuals, such as investor and entrepreneur Dave Asprey, even admit to using them and justify it by claiming that they improve quality of life.

Watch Dave Asprey’s candid insight on smart drugs in Silicon Valley via CNN:

Do Smart Drugs Improve Brain Power?

There are only a few drugs that have been proven to improve cognitive abilities. The most common of these are caffeine and nicotine. Amphetamine pharmaceuticals also fall into this category, such as Adderall and dextroamphetamine. Others have been developed to treat cognitive or motor function disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD.

The use of these drugs has been shown to temporarily increase productivity and alertness, but there are adverse effects, including the risk of addiction. A growing number of individuals in Silicon Valley are seeking treatment for addiction to smart drugs. For some, drugs being used specifically for performance enhancement are having the opposite effect by creating a relentless addiction that disrupts productivity and the ability to function at a higher level.

Learn about the dark side of smart drugs via BBC News:

What Is The Future Of Smart Drugs In Silicon Valley?

As competition only continues to grow with tech professionals all vying to earn their first five million by 25, use of drugs to support long hours and intensely complex work will only increase. Likewise, the number of individuals who fall into the trap of addiction will increase, as well.

Don’t Wait To Get Help

Addiction doesn’t go away on its own, and it requires professional treatment. Don’t ignore the signs of addiction. Call for help now and learn how you can live a productive, successful life without drugs.

Please spread the word and share this post to raise awareness of an all new class of drugs we need to be aware of and watch out for.

How Can Prescription Drug Abuse Easily Turn Into Heroin Abuse?

People often assume that prescription pain relievers are safer than illicit drugs because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor. What they don’t realize is that these medications can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. That’s why it’s important to recognize the dangers associated with prescription pain relievers and why you should always follow the doctor’s recommendations when taking them.

How Prescription Painkillers Escalate Into Heroin

Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, even if they don’t fit the stereotypical mold society has created.

Let’s take a look at an all-too-common scenario that treatment centers are seeing today:

How Prescription Drug Abuse Can Easily Turn Into Heroin AbuseKristen is a college student and runs track. She’s an excellent sprinter but ends up getting injured in her junior year. She sees a doctor to help manage the pain, and the doctor prescribes painkillers. Kristen has no problem taking them because they are prescribed by someone she trusts. She takes the pills, which work for a while, but then the pain slowly returns.

With final exams and work, Kristen can’t be uncomfortable, so she doubles up on the pills and finally gets some relief. It isn’t long before she builds up a tolerance. Even though Kristen’s pain is getting better, she sees her doctor to get more medication. He refuses. She now has a craving to fill, and she becomes fixated on getting something else. Heroin becomes the next step because it’s cheap, easy to get and has a similar effect as painkillers.

Although Kristen could have never imagined having an addiction to prescription drugs which turned into abusing and becoming addicted to heroin, a prescription drug rehab program in the Bay Area, it’s now her reality.

How Can I Prevent Becoming Addicted To Painkillers?

While prescription pain relievers have a bad rap, the reality is that they do have a purpose. Many people need them at one point or another to provide relief following an injury, accident or operation. It’s possible that you will need them, too, one day. Just because you take prescription pain pills does not mean you will become addicted. There are steps you can take to prevent dependency.

  • Don’t take more than the recommended dosage.
  • If you notice that you are becoming tolerant to the drug, tell your doctor immediately.
  • Take the medication for the shortest amount of time. If you can get by without it, do so.
  • Find other ways to manage your pain such as massage therapy, yoga, meditation or magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) baths.
  • Properly dispose of unused medicine.

Being aware of the dangers of prescription opioids helps prevent addiction. If you know that what you are taking can be addictive, you’ll be more likely to follow the doctor’s recommendations and only use the medicine as necessary.

Summit Estate Recovery Center has a team of caring, compassionate staff that is happy to start you on the journey to sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, we can help. Call us today to learn more.

What Are Dissociative Drugs And How Does Treatment Work?

Dissociative drugs, such as PCP (Phencyclidine), DXM (Dextromethorphan), Ketamine and LSD, are a class of hallucinogenic drugs that alter user’s perceptions of sight and sound. They also produce feelings of detachment or dissociation from one’s environment or self. Some types of dissociative drugs can be found in over-the-counter cold and cough medicines, others are prescribed to sedate patients who are experiencing severe pain or to sustain general anesthesia during surgery and still others are found as street drugs.

Side Effects Of Dissociative Drugs

Dissociative drugs block signals to the conscious mind and produce hallucinations and even dream-like trances. Side effects of taking drugs in this classification include:

  • Memory loss
  • Feelings of panic or aggression
  • Changes in blood pressure, respiration, or heart rate
  • Sleeplessness
  • Tremors
  • Appetite loss

Treating Dissociative Drug Addiction

It Takes Nothing To Join The Crowd-Dissociative Drugs-SummitEstate.comLike with other types of drugs, users can develop a tolerance to dissociative drugs that can lead to cravings and addiction. Over time, there is also a risk of acquiring a condition called hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD) that is a result of the negative impact of flashbacks caused by the drug. If not treated, an addiction to dissociative drugs can be fatal.

In many individuals, long-term side effects can last long after they stop using a dissociative drug. These include speech difficulties, memory loss, depression, and social withdrawal. For some, these side effects will last for a year or even longer.

But there is hope…

Holistic and personalized, ongoing addiction treatment is focused first on overcoming the initial symptoms of withdrawal such as drug cravings, headaches, heart palpitations, and profuse sweating. Once the initial detox has been completed, the focus shifts to ongoing care, encouragement and relapse prevention tools to live healthy and drug-free.

Personalized Addiction Treatment

At Summit Estate, we offer both an inpatient program as well as an outpatient rehab in Saratoga to provide our clients with the right level of care. We assess each individual, taking into account their background and specific addiction, as well as their mental and emotional needs. With this background information, we are able to create a personalized treatment program that can includes group, individual, family, or couples therapy, as well as holistic therapies and more to offer the best chance of long-term recovery.

Are you or a loved one struggling with an addiction to a dissociative drug or any other substance?

We Encourage You To Begin Your Recovery Journey By Calling Us Now!

3 Myths About Drug Abuse And Addiction

There is much we now know about drug abuse and addiction. Yet, there are many things we are still finding out from ongoing research. Fortunately, as more is learned, we are able to debunk common myths that are often generated by those with limited knowledge of the challenges facing individuals suffering from addiction.

Myths About Drug Abuse And Addiction

The following are three such myths that have been proven to be wholeheartedly false.

Myth #1: Drug Addiction Is A Choice

Although taking drugs may be a choice at first, it eventually becomes a compulsion propelled by chemical changes in the brain caused by the drug. Addiction is a side effect of drug abuse and not simply a lifestyle choice.

Because of this side effect, a holistic drug abuse treatment program is necessary to address both the physical and emotional aspects of addiction.

Myth #2 – Drug Abuse Is A Character Flaw

3 Myths About Drug Abuse & Addiction-SummitEstate.comThis is a common myth generated by those who believe that people who abuse drugs simply need to have stronger will power to overcome it. The reality is that drug addiction is a brain disease. Each type of drug changes brain function in its own unique way. These changes occur at a molecular and cellular level and can affect mood, memory, cognitive ability and even motor skills.

Over time, these changes become the single most powerful motivator in a substance abuser’s life. They will literally do anything for the drug. In other words, it’s not a choice or character flaw, but rather an uncontrollable compulsion.

Myth #3 – Those Suffering From Addiction Have To Want Treatment For It To Be Effective

It is a rare individual who wants to undergo addiction treatment, as many are afraid of withdrawals, and life without their substance. The two most common reasons people seek addiction treatment are because loved ones have urged them or because they were court ordered to do so. Research has actually shown that individuals who enter heroin addiction treatment or other drug treatment programs with pressure to address their addiction do comparatively better in treatment than those who enter solely on their own volition. This could be because they know they have support behind them and don’t want to let down or be without their loved ones.

Help For Drug Abuse And Drug Addiction

It is a fact that the cycle of addiction requires effective drug abuse treatment. The problem will not go away on its own and will only get worse over time. Don’t delay in getting the help you or someone you care about needs. Our individualized treatment programs can help get you or a loved one on the road to recovery and long-term sobriety.

Call Us Now To Learn More!